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Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa [In-depth Review]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, just steps away from the world-famous Waikiki Beach and high-end shopping. The hotel is Hyatt’s highest luxury property on Oahu and is also one of the largest hotels, boasting 2 towers with ocean-, mountain-, and city-view rooms.

The full-service hotel is complete with a Regency Club, on-site restaurants, valet parking, and more. While the hotel’s rates can be quite expensive, it’s a go-to hotel for World of Hyatt members when staying in Honolulu.

Hotel Location

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is located approximately 20 minutes by car from Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL). The hotel is right in the center of Waikiki, and while the famous Kalakaua Avenue separates the hotel from the beach itself, you can pretty much consider this hotel beachfront thanks to the sweeping views from most of the rooms.

To get to this hotel from the airport, your best bet is a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. There are city bus lines that service the airport to Waikiki, but these lines can take over 1.5 hours for just a short drive. It’s not worth saving the money to take a city bus, so when your flight lands and you exit the airport, order a rideshare car to the hotel. On average it will cost around $25, which is money well spent in this case.

While you can rent a car at the airport and drive to the hotel, parking by the hotel is very difficult to come by. During the day, cars are parked along the beach and sidestreets and there really won’t be a good place to park for any long period of time. While the hotel does have self and valet parking options, both are very expensive.

The hotel is about a hundred feet from the beach itself, so to access it you’ll walk out the main entrance, turn right and cross the street. You can walk for miles in either direction along the sandy coast.

View of Beach from Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club
You can see the beach from the Regency Club.

In addition to the beach, there is shopping just outside of the hotel. You’ll find the Royal Hawaiian Center shops, as well as pretty much every luxury retailer you might think of. If you’re hungry, you’ll find most major restaurant chains as well, including Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, California Pizza Kitchen, and more. You certainly won’t go hungry in Waikiki. While prices can be high, most restaurants have outdoor seating where you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

For a great bite to eat, visit Island Vintage Coffee, about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch all day and offers a super tasty açaí bowl with fresh fruit, granola, and honey that is to die for.

It’s worth noting that some people come to Hawaii to relax and spend their time in a tranquil environment. If that’s you, this hotel (and Waikiki in general) might not be a great match. The hotel is one of the biggest on the island, and there will be plenty of tourists and families to mingle with. Because of where the hotel is located, it also feels like a city environment, so just like you’ll hear the crashing waves, you’ll also hear the annoyance of ambulance sirens, too.

Booking

This hotel is a Category 5 hotel, meaning it costs 15,000 points per night in the off-peak season, 20,000 points for standard nights, and 25,000 points during peak season.

It’s worth noting that on the island of Oahu (where Honolulu is located), there are 3 Hyatt properties. The Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach is the cheapest among them at a Category 3 (12,000 points per standard night), while the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is a Category 4 at 15,000 points per standard night. Each property is within a 5-minute walk of each other, but the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is the only one with direct oceanside views and a club lounge.

For this stay, I was able to book under a Healthcare Friends & Family rate of $169 a night thanks to my EMT credentials. This is a temporary discount Hyatt is offering to healthcare workers and it provides significant savings off of the normal rates. With taxes, the total came to approximately $200 a night.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Booking
Booking confirmation. Image Credit: Hyatt

I used The World of Hyatt Credit Card for my stay, which earns 4 World of Hyatt points per dollar on top of the 5 points earned as a base member (for a minimum of 9 points earned per dollar). As a Globalist, I received a 30% bonus on top of this, so it was a no-brainer to use a Hyatt-branded credit card for maximum earnings.

This hotel is fairly easy to book on points. Because it is so large, there tend to be many rooms available, though standard rooms have a Waikiki city view and all other rooms are considered elevated rooms. You’ll want to book early, especially during peak season, to guarantee yourself a redemption.

Having stayed at this property many times, I’ve seen rates as low as the upper $100s all the way north of $600 a night for a standard room. Because the hotel has so many views and room types, it’s possible for you to upgrade to a room with a better view or more oceanfront facing.

Hot Tip: Maximize your redemptions! Learn more about the best ways to fly to Hawaii and book Hawaii hotels with points and miles!

Checking In

From Honolulu’s airport, I took an Uber to the hotel for approximately $25, a very reasonable rate. I was at the front door of the hotel within about 20 minutes since I didn’t hit any traffic on the highway coming over.

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is very chaotic, and pulling up to the entrance will make you feel like you’re in an inner-city hotel in New York City or Los Angeles. There are dozens of cars waiting to be parked, valet attendants hurrying around, and many tourists trying to hail rideshares or head out for the day with their beach gear. To get to the front entrance from the direction of the airport, you’ll pass right through a good chunk of Waikiki, so you’re able to gain a quick lay of the land before heading inside.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Tower
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki is one of the tallest hotels on the island.

While I didn’t have a car during this stay, there were several parking attendants and bellmen that would have been happy to park my car or assist with luggage.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Front Portico
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is a very commercialized hotel.

Unlike other hotels I’ve experienced in Hawaii, this property felt more commercialized than Hawaiian, and I wasn’t treated to a lei, Mai Tai, or any other experience that would have helped me get into the Hawaiian spirit.

As you walk inside, you head up a set of escalators to the lobby that is situated above the ground floor. The hotel can be a bit of a maze to get around, but there is signage that points you to where the front desk is.

Upon arrival, I saw 2 queues: 1 for general guests and 1 for World of Hyatt elites. The general line was quite long, but I was the first in line for the elite lane. Unfortunately, it looked like I arrived at a bad time as even though several agents were staffing the check-in desks, everyone ahead of me was taking their time with questions and other issues, so it was about 10 minutes before I was helped.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Elite Line
You can use the elite line if you hold any status level with Hyatt.

I found it very nice that one of the agents left her position to personally walk up to the elite line, confirm my eligibility, and welcome me over to her position, a great gesture to avoid having someone in the general lane wander over first.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Front Desk
As this is one of the largest hotels on the island, check-in lines can be long.

I was asked for my vaccination card, ID, and credit card and was quickly checked in. The hotel has placed large plexiglass dividers between the agents and guests which makes hearing next to impossible. Both the agent and I had to walk around the glass to speak with each other since the plastic was blocking out all noise.

For this stay, I booked a 1 Bedroom King Family Ocean View Suite with one of my expiring Globalist suite upgrade certificates. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told I had been further upgraded to a Penthouse Suite. Not being one to complain about such an upgrade, I quickly took it!

Hot Tip: If you want a suite at this hotel, it’s generally advised to book one or confirm one with a Globalist suite upgrade. As there are limited suites, upgrades are rare.

Lobby

This hotel is unique in that it really doesn’t have a formal lobby. When you enter from the front entrance, you need to proceed upstairs to the front desk, and there are only a few small benches in that area to sit — very atypical of a hotel lobby for a hotel this size.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Lobby
Enjoy the fresh air in the open-air lobby of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa.

If you walk on the ground floor between the 2 towers, there are several spots to sit among the foliage and water features, but there really isn’t a formal lobby to speak of.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Atrium
View of atrium area on the ground floor.

Most of the hotel is open-air and there really aren’t any enclosed spaces.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Diamond Head Tower Elevators
With the number of people that stay at this hotel, elevators can be very busy.

Elite Benefits

Having stayed at this hotel several times, the hotel has done a good job of honoring elite benefits:

  • 4 p.m. late checkout, which was offered, but didn’t need thanks to a mid-afternoon flight
  • Room upgrade: I upgraded to a 1 Bedroom King Family Ocean Suite using a suite upgrade certificate, but was further upgraded to a Penthouse Suite from there
  • Complimentary Regency Club access, which provided daily breakfast and evening appetizers.
  • Complimentary water, though I was only provided water bottles to be filled in water spouts in the lobby instead of bottles of water.
  • Complimentary parking on award nights (a ~$50 per night value)
  • Complimentary premium internet, which was fast throughout the stay
  • Waived resort fee of ~$42 per night

Amenities

Parking

Valet parking at this property is $60 a night, while self-parking is $50. All parking is done at the garage across the street, and this garage is very, very tight to get in and out of, so if you’re not comfortable driving, or have a big vehicle, you may want to find options somewhere else.

Hot Tip: There are major car rental locations within walking distance of the hotel, so don’t feel obligated to park a car. You can rent a car for the day at one of the nearby locations and return it there to avoid having to pay to park.

Resort Fee

The $37 a night resort fee at this hotel is similar to other resort fees charged along Waikiki Beach and includes, among other things, per the hotel:

  • Premium Wi-Fi in guestrooms and public areas
  • 2 reusable souvenir Hyatt water bottles
  • 1 reusable Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa tote bag
  • Biki bicycle ride-sharing service ($4 per person credit, 2 people maximum, 1-time credit)
  • Delicious frozen treats provided poolside (I never saw these being offered)
  • Discounted surfing lessons and rental of beach equipment from Billabong
  • Resort interactive cultural activities (lei making, hula lessons, ukelele lessons, by appointment only)
  • Stayfit Gym access
  • GoPro usage
  • Use of beach amenities and chairs
  • Use of beach toys for children
  • Chromecast service for in-room television viewing
  • House slippers and personal amenity items preset in guest room (which I did not see set)
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • Long-distance and international calls, up to 60 minutes per day
  • Unlimited local and 1-800 telephone calls

Throughout my stay, I really didn’t take advantage of any of these inclusions. As a Globalist, the resort fee was waived, but I would certainly be annoyed paying it if I wasn’t a top-tier elite member. Many of the items included are things you’d receive at a normal hotel for free, such as gym usage and in-room coffee, so the fact that this hotel is charging for these is disappointing.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Cultural Activities
A variety of cultural activities are included with your resort fee.

StayFit Gym

The gym is open 24 hours a day and is located on the third floor of the hotel, where most of the amenities are situated. It features plenty of exercise equipment and wasn’t crowded any time I looked through the window. I think most people were exercising in the fresh Hawaiian air instead of the air conditioning.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Gym
The gym was rarely ever crowded, presumably because of the nice weather outside.

Hot Tip: If you love outdoor activities, learn about the best times to visit Hawaii, detailed by seasons and islands!

Na Ho‘ola Spa

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the spa offers traditional treatments for a fee. The cheapest massage will run you approximately $180 and the spa offers body treatments, facials, as well as packages that include both for approximately $325. A menu of services and online reservations can be found on Na Ho‘ola Spa’s website.

Pualeilani Atrium Shops

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Signage
On the lower level of the hotel is a variety of shopping, known as Pualeilani Atrium Shops, including several ABC Stores.

In the atrium of the hotel are over 60 shops, ranging from small boutiques to well-known brands.

The Pualeilani Atrium Shops include retailers such as:

  • Billabong
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Honolulu Cookie Company
  • Ugg
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Volcom

Pet Friendly

This hotel is pet friendly, though you’re limited to 2 furry friends, and if you’re bringing a cat, they must have a litter box. The hotel can supply a bed, bowl, and treats for dogs.

Concierge

I never interacted with the concierge much during my stay, though it’s worth noting that I didn’t see a person regularly staffing the desk during normal operating hours. I’m not sure if they were short-staffed or if there simply wasn’t an on-site person at all hours.

Pool

There’s 1 main pool at the hotel, located in the center of the hotel, accessible on the third floor. It’s a rather small pool for a hotel of this size and features a hot tub right next door.

There was a variety of beach chairs and loungers scattered around the deck. I wouldn’t consider this one of the best pools on the island and wouldn’t book this property to lounge around the pool all day. As someone who doesn’t frequent pools, it was a great place to take a quick dip, but I certainly would have expected more from this being one of the largest hotels in Hawaii.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Pools
As this is an enormous hotel, the pool can fill up rather quickly.

Beach

The famed Waikiki Beach is directly across the street from the hotel, so to get there you simply go outside of the main entrance, cross at the crosswalk, then you’ll be there.

The beach was always crowded with both tourists and locals alike, so if you’re looking for a place that’s quiet or reminiscent of what you might find on one of the other islands, this certainly isn’t it. You can rent beach chairs and items from the hotel (included with the resort fee) and take them down to the beach, but there’s no hotel representation on the beach itself and no reserved areas for you to set up.

Waikiki Beach Accross from Hyatt Regency
There’s no shortage of beautiful sunsets on Waikiki Beach.

The Room

Thanks to a double upgrade from a 1 Bedroom King Family Ocean Suite to a Penthouse Suite, I really lucked out on my stay. I’ll share both rooms in this post to give you a general sense of each room, since it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive the same upgrade as me.

Penthouse Suite

The Penthouse Suite I was assigned was room 4015, located on the 40th floor of the Ewa Tower, the tower farthest from Diamondhead.

As I entered the room, I couldn’t help but notice how absolutely massive it was, with a large living area and separate bedroom. This room sleeps 4 guests.

Living Room

Walking into the suite you were presented with the living room with 2 seating areas. The first area was off to the left with a couch and 2 arm chairs.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Living Room
Quite an upgrade as a Globalist!

A second sitting area to the right with another couch and armchair facing a large flat-screen television. At this television was a premium Sonos sound bar, not available in most other rooms at this hotel.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite TV Area
Who wants to watch TV when you’re in Hawaii?

Towards the back of the living room was a mini-kitchen area, complete with 2 bar stools and an enclosed kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, sink, and counter space. This area had plenty of coffee accoutrements, as well as bottled water stocked in the fridge (just for suites).

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Kitchenette
A small kitchenette had all the basic necessities.

This enormous living area featured 2 balconies, each one flanking either side of the room. Each balcony had 2 chairs and a table and featured views of the Diamondhead tower, the beach, and Waikiki below.

Hyatt Regency Penthouse Suite Balcony Chairs
Can’t beat the view!

Living Room Bathroom

There was also a guest bathroom situated off of the main seating area, and this bathroom was much smaller than the master bathroom. This full bathroom had a sink, toilet, and shower.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Guest Bathroom
Having 2 bathrooms is always great if you have multiple people in the room.

Master Bedroom

The bedroom was the size of a normal hotel room and featured a king bed, lounge chair, and television.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Bedroom
The Penthouse Suite’s full-size bedroom.

It also featured a full-size desk with a fully functioning Mac computer and printer.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Mac
A desk for all the work you’re going to do while in Hawaii!

Master Bathroom

This room also featured a full-size walk-in bathroom (unlike the one in the living room), complete with sinks, a closet, and a separate shower and toilet.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Penthouse Suite Master Bathroom
This suite featured 2 bathrooms, the larger of which was in the main bedroom.

1 Bedroom King Family Ocean Suite

The entry-level suite at this property is the 1 Bedroom King Family Ocean Suite, which has direct oceanfront views. This particular suite was also located in the Ewa Tower. The family suite is actually 2 rooms put together: one room is the master bedroom, while the other room is a living area/second bedroom.

Upgrade availability to suites is pretty rare at this hotel, so to secure this suite, you’ll want to use either points or a suite upgrade certificate.

This room can sleep 2 in the main bedroom, and 2 in the pull-down bed of the second bedroom and living area. Theoretically, an additional person could also sleep on the couch.

Master Bedroom

The bedroom is the right-hand room upon entry and features 1 king bed with a corner sitting chair.

Hyatt Regency Family Suite Bedroom
The main bedroom in the family suite features 1 king bed.

There is a long desk along the wall, and the area under the TV housed the minifridge and storage.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Family Suite Desk
A long desk is situated against the wall in the main bedroom.

Master Bathroom

The bathroom in this room is nice because unlike most bathrooms at this hotel, you’re able to fully walk into the entire bathroom where the sink, shower, and toilet are all located.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Family Suite Master Bathroom
The master bathroom is longer and larger than the second family suite bathroom.

On one side of the room is the balcony, featuring 2 chairs and a table. This room looks directly out onto the ocean, and while you can certainly see Waikiki down below, you don’t have the best views of the city or Diamondhead.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Room Balcony
A perfect place to watch the sunset.

Living Room

Through a door separating the 2 rooms, you’ll find the second room, with a similar layout as the first room as far as square footage. In this second room, there is a pull-down Murphy bed which you can easily have the housekeeping staff stow if you do not need it.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Family Suite Murphy Bed
A second room includes a Murphy bed and sofa.

There is a large couch in this room, plenty big enough for someone to sleep on if you needed to.

Similar to the main bedroom, there is a television and cabinetry with a refrigerator.

Living Room Bathroom

The bathroom in this room is smaller than the master bedroom, but still complete with a full sink, shower, and toilet.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Family Suite Bathroom
One of the bedrooms in the family suite has a bathroom that is exposed into the room.

The family suites can accommodate 5 people very easily — 2 in the main bedroom, 2 on the Murphy bed, and 1 on the couch. If you’re looking to save money and have what is essentially 2 full bedrooms and 2 full baths without needing to purchase 2 separate rooms, and want to be guaranteed an oceanfront view, consider upgrading into the family suite if it is available.

Dining

There are 2 main restaurants at the hotel, Shor and Swim.

Shor is open for breakfast and dinner and features a buffet-style service as well as plated meals. It is open for breakfast from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Swim is more of a bar-like atmosphere, only open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Regency Club

One of the things that sets this hotel apart is the Regency Club. It is the only Hyatt hotel on Oahu to have a club, and one of only a few clubs within the Waikiki district.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Snacks
During the day, the lounge offers prepackaged snacks.

The club is open the following hours:

  • Continental Breakfast: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Refreshments and Snacks: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Hor D’Oeuvres With Wines and Beer: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Beer and Wine Service:  7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (service ends thereafter)

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club seating
There is plenty of seating inside and outside of the club.

For breakfast, there was always a selection of 2 hot items such as eggs, bacon, French toast, or pancakes, and these selections rotated daily. Keep in mind that if you’re here for a longer period of time, you’ll notice the breakfast options are very limited as there isn’t much variance in what’s offered.

Along with the few hot dishes is a selection of fruit, cheese, meats, salad mixings, pastries, and cereals. Overall, the offerings are limited and aren’t nearly what they were even a few years ago. The selections are the same day after day.

What is very disappointing is that just outside of the Regency Club is the restaurant’s buffet with an even wider selection. The hotel really should provide access to this area, not only improving the club experience but also cutting down on food waste.

After the third day, you will likely be very tired of the breakfast offerings.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Outside Club Seating
You can sit outside while you enjoy your club food.

During the day, there were complimentary sodas, sparkling water, and coffee available, as well as a rotating stock of small packaged snacks.

In the evening time, the hotel put out a light dinner, always featuring a soup, 2 hot entrees, and a cold salad, where 2 of the options would always be vegetarian. While the options rotated a lot more frequently than the breakfast, you could still tell that there was limited effort in trying to change things up.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Evening Spread
2 hot dishes, a soup, and a salad were offered during the evening.

Some days featured a pasta dish, which was more or less the same dish every couple of days, and on several of the days, guests were offered what felt like reheated frozen snacks. While it’s nice to have this spread available, it is clear that the hotel has made major cuts. The hotel staff will gladly tell you to write corporate to voice your displeasure, as they are frustrated at what they have to serve.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Regency Club Dinner
While dinner isn’t technically advertised, there is plenty of food to make what would be a normal dinner.

In the evening time, you’re able to purchase beer and wine and these can be charged to your room.

Bottom Line: The club does feature 2 full meals a day — breakfast and dinner — though the hotel won’t advertise the evening meal as a true dinner. While there are plenty of guests that choose to make a dinner out of it, your tastes may vary and you may still want to go out to eat afterward.

Service

Overall, the service at this hotel was above-par and I noted a few special circumstances:

  • When checking in, I was standing in the elite line and an employee personally came over to greet me to bypass the queue of other guests and assist me, which I thought was thoughtful.
  • The Regency Club staff were always great and were especially friendly for day-to-day chit-chat. They clearly want to offer a better product, but seemed like they were being limited by management.
  • When I checked in, I was asked if I wanted my room serviced in the morning or afternoons. I selected mornings and always promptly had my room serviced while I was away at breakfast or out for a walk. I found the housekeeping staff diligently tried to service the rooms according to the prescribed schedule, which is nice, especially considering I wanted a mid-afternoon nap from the long time difference I was on coming from the East Coast.

Final Thoughts

Considering that Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa waives resort fees for Globalist guests and most hotels in Hawaii charge these exorbitant fees, this is one of my go-to properties when visiting Waikiki. While the Regency Club has gone downhill compared to previous years, it’s still one of the better clubs on the island, and upgrades are consistently good here for World of Hyatt elites.

The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the resort fee at Hyatt Regency Waikiki?

The resort fee is $37 a night and includes several cultural activities, beach equipment, and more.

What category is Hyatt Regency Waikiki?

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is a Category 5 hotel, costing approximately 20,000 World of Hyatt points per standard night.

Does Hyatt Regency Waikiki have a pool?

It does, though the pool is very small and most hotel guests opt to visit the beach just steps away from the hotel.

How far is Hyatt Regency Waikiki from airport?

By car, the airport is approximately 9 miles away from the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa and usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes depending on traffic.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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